Seven Attorneys for Seven Siblings

Consulting on an unusual estate recently, I was informed there were 7 beneficiaries, 4 of which were also co-executors.  Can you imagine that many co-executors?  What a nightmare!  This estate also had personal property, which the family felt to be very valuable, but it wasn’t.  There was a bunch of land to be divided, or sold and divided among the children.

Naturally, when you have that many cooks in the kitchen, everyone has different thoughts and opinions.  This is why co-executors is not necessarily a good choice.  In my opinion, estate settlement is much harder when you hand decisions to people who can’t come to a conclusion and end up fighting, or potentially going broke doing so.  Some wanted the land intact; others wanted it subdivided.  You can see where this story is going and it isn’t good.

The siblings had indeed reached an impasse.  One long distance heir, who had little to do with mom while she was alive, was the first to get an attorney involved, then everyone else followed suit.  It just gets messier from there.

I have been doing this for a very long time; I hope you don’t think I’m crazy when I share with you that people and their behaviors are getting worse.  Their behavior is often out of control, along with other emotions, sometimes even getting physical.  It makes me wonder.

What on earth could be so grand that it’s worth destroying themselves, as well as other relatives and relationships?  Don’t these people know they are going to have to carry the burden of their decisions for the remainder of their lives?

Don’t get me wrong.

I’d love to have a slice of land or the proceeds from it.

Who wouldn’t?

But not at this cost.

It just isn’t worth it!

The attorneys will do their jobs well, and whatever inheritance there is will dwindle with legal fees.

Interesting observation:  While the inheritance is decreasing, the emotions and angst will only increase and be prolonged, sometimes for the rest of the lifetime, long after the estate has been settled.

Is there anyone to blame in this scenario?  Fingers can be pointed all day long.  In the end, it comes down to the original decision maker who did not specify what should happen to the property and named so many co-executors.  Big mistake which caused even more strife for those left behind.

I ask you plainly … Is it really worth it?

I couldn’t possibly make this stuff up!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

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How Did You Become “The Estate Lady?”

It is a question I am asked often; each time I have to smile to myself, knowing the course of events that transpired to get me into the estate business and evolve with it.  Allow me to preface this by saying I don’t think I chose “it”.  I think “it” chose me.

Wilma was 103 years old.  While I had dabbled in the buying and selling of antiques back then (25 years ago), she had heard about me and invited me over for advice on what to do with her beautiful European residential contents upon her death.  She said she was “ready for the hole” which I found amazingly blunt, but she was honest and genuinely worried about her things, as to not be a burden to anyone once she was gone.  She had outlived her husband and children.  We agreed I would return in a couple of weeks to discuss options, etc.

Upon my return, her beautiful home looked like a carnival had just trampled through it.  You can imagine my horror when it was clear to see that her neighbors and so-called friends came over and helped themselves, breaking fine rare German figurines in the process and leaving debris behind for her to clean up.  They had purchased her sterling, antique furniture, antique clocks, etc. from her for a dollar, $5, a few bucks here and there, and her possessions were worth a small fortune … tens of thousands at that time.

It was, for me, a moment of truth – an epiphany, if you will – about the inner workings of human nature.  Truly, I was disgusted by what I saw, and felt both a deep sorrow for her, as well as a disdain for the people who had done this to her.  How could they do that?  We’re supposed to protect those who can’t protect themselves.  From my best recollection, I lifted a silent prayer thinking about all the Wilma’s out there that needed advocates, to protect them from these unscrupulous people who knew her for decades and still totally took advantage of her, with little regard for their actions.  It was unconscionable.

She asked me if she had been taken advantage of, and I looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Yes.  I am afraid so.”  She nodded, knowing what had really happened and thanked me for my honesty.  What she said next was what led me to this industry and to my life’s calling.  “We old folks really need an estate lady like you!”  And right there, sitting on her remaining green velvet antique sofa, the light bulb went off and I received my life’s instructions.  “The Estate Lady” was born.  I quit a cushy pharmaceutical job and went to work for myself, figuring if I was working this hard for them, I might as well work this hard for myself.  It was a tremendous leap of faith.

From that moment to this, there have been many, many obstacles, plenty of tears for what I see in the industry (both good and bad), lots of sweat equity and even blood spilled due to its physical demands.  My back is riddled with arthritis and my once beautiful hands show the signs of hard work.  BUT … I’ve never once looked back.  I’ve never regretted a thing.  I am not rich, but in so many ways I am, because my clients allowed me into their lives.  They shared their secrets and pain, and somehow, no matter how small or large, my compassion, skills, and presence made a difference in their lives.  That is what allows me sleep like a baby every night, knowing I have served so many to the best of my ability.  It is the driving force of my spirit.

If you know someone interested in pursuing this industry, share this link with them: http://www.aselonline.com/index.html.  They can expect lots of hard work with little glamour.  But if they are looking for a career in an industry that serves so many, and are willing to work hard and earn a decent income, it becomes a win-win.

Not everyone is cut out to do this kind of work.  It takes the kindness and compassion of a minister, combined with the grit of John Wayne.  If this sounds like you, I would encourage you to explore it.

I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life!

©2013 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Ashes to Ashes

It was one of those estates where you could cut the tension with a knife.  It wasn’t necessarily the fault of the last remaining parent who had just died.  It was her son, who was (to put it mildly) a massive pain in the butt.  He was spoiled, discourteous, disrespectful, and just not what you would consider a good person.  Those who know me would tell you I am an exceptional judge of character, whether it be from an intuition I seem to have inherited from mom, or just decades of observing and working with the good and bad side of human nature.  So, how bad could this son really be?

Well, let’s just say he demanded that I sell mom’s very personal items that we would normally dispose of, or wash and donate.  He dug into our donation boxes that had already been taped shut.  “I want every cent I can get out of this estate, so I want you to sell everything including her underwear.  Then I want you to low-ball the values so I don’t have to pay too much in taxes.”  Can you believe this?  Unfortunately, he was serious.

He was a man of significant financial means and was getting ready to inherit much more.  If selling mom’s undergarments wasn’t strange enough (which I refused to do because I believe in preserving the dignity of those no longer with us), we found cremated remains of his father, who had died two decades before, in a foyer cabinet.  As always, I handle remains with much care when we find them.

After consulting with the attorney handling the estate, it was determined that this son should take care of the remains.  When I handed the box of cremated remains to the son, he literally assumed a bowler’s position and threw the box, from several feet away, under the kitchen sink with the Windex and Comet.  Oh my gosh!  If I had not been there to see it, I never would have believed it.

I managed to get the son out of the estate and rescued the remains from the household chemicals.  After reporting this to the lawyer, we decided I should deliver “Mr. Smith’s” remains to the lawyer, who would try to find another family member to scatter the ashes as Mr. Smith wished.  It was the right thing to do.

I vaguely remember telling the law firm that if they could not find a family member, please let me know and I will scatter Mr. Smith.  I felt horrible that this man’s wishes were never fulfilled and that his remains were treated with such disrespect.  Years later, I received a call from the law firm asking me if the offer was still on the table to scatter Mr. Smith.  No family member would come and get him.  Struck speechless and trying to recall this estate from my long-ago memory, I simply replied that I would be happy to honor the last wishes of this man who clearly had no one who would do it for him.

The spoiled, uncaring family, who wasn’t willing to tend to his remains but more than willing to take his money, was a no-show, despite the best efforts of the law firm to come and get Mr. Smith.  It was then legally arranged for me to do this.  I saw to it that Mr. Smith got his final wish, praying over his ashes as a stranger, but one who clearly cared more for him than his own family.  I would want some kind soul to do the same for me.

For decades, his remains floated and were thrown around.  It was time they were released, and they were.  In a gorgeous area and on a perfect day, this stranger lifted a prayer for him, but silently cursed his son under my breath.  I know I should have been a better person than that, but seriously, how low can one go?

Sorry to quote Forrest Gump, but “Sometimes there just aren’t enough words.”

©2013 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on November 1, 2013 at 10:28 am  Comments (4)  
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Thou Shalt Not Steal

Life sure is getting harder … and weirder.  Call me a twentieth century throw-back, but people and times seem to be changing fast and I don’t think it’s my imagination.  Just yesterday, my husband and I were out taking a drive in the gorgeous Blue Ridge mountains enjoying the magnificent views.  We had no clue where we were, other than a curvy country road.  The adventure is half the fun!  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a huge yard sale and shouted to my husband to “Stop! Yard Sale!”  Since being married to me, he has thrown his car into reverse more than he ever used to.

Who would have thought that all the way out there with no street signs, but plenty of goats and chickens, you would find an awesome sale with great finds and reasonable prices?  My family knows when I am “shopping sales” it’s best to leave me alone because it takes great concentration to select and negotiate the great buys.  I piled up a few items, greeted and exchanged conversation with the sellers, and enjoyed their company.  One seller there told me she had real jewelry – if I was interested – because I looked like the honest type.  Lucky to be born with a kind face, I politely accepted her invitation to see the real stuff and she hauled me up to her front porch where it was all tangled and piled in her shoe boxes.  Some of the pieces were very nice.

She was only 40 but she looked much older, and I knew she had a story to tell – and tell, she did.  Once the wife of a wealthy man, he was always unavailable to her, busy making his money.  Her job seemed to be going out and buying jewelry.  But he was also abusive to her.  She escaped with her young son and her jewelry, and that was it.  Now she was living in a tiny home in the middle of nowhere, where no one knew her.  Her young son was by her side, as I expect he’ll be most of his life, taking care of mom.  She told me she didn’t want to sell her jewelry, but that she had to.  Her prices weren’t cheap, but the pieces were quality and I did purchase a handful from her.  She was so appreciative.

During the sale, an older woman was wandering around the front yard.  She was very sweet, like your grandma, saw the jewelry and asked to see it.  When the younger woman who had been helping me turned her back, the older woman took a handful of the good gold and silver jewelry and stuffed it in her pockets and in her blouse.  Someone yelled out, “Hey lady, you can’t steal that stuff.  That belongs to Karen and you haven’t paid for it!”  It was quite a tense moment.  No one really knew what to do because no one expected a sweet older woman to steal!

Don’t get me wrong.  Since the dawn of man, people have been stealing … from merchants, family, neighbors, even out of necessity.  I can’t sit here and tell you I am the world’s most religious person, but I can tell you I am a person with strong moral convictions.  The problem is that most people seem to have lost their own moral compass.  I wonder where it all went in such a short time.  I am a child of the 60’s and now it seems like that was eons ago.

I also wonder when it was that I turned into my parents.  I am officially an old fogey … but at least I’m a moral one.

©2013 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com

Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth is a Thankless Child

(Literal meaning: It is especially painful to raise an ungrateful child.)

Shakespeare really understood human nature, tragic as it can be sometimes.  From his King Lear in 1605, he writes about the pain of a thankless child.

Here’s my hair-raising story:

In an estate I was handling, I was privy to a situation that made my stomach turn.  It still blows my mind!  After all these years, certain situations still get to me … because I care.

Before an elderly parent died, knowing what her children were like, she assigned a trusted friend to be the executor.  The children were estranged, yet greedy.  I cannot comprehend how a child can be estranged, yet still feel they are entitled to an inheritance.  As I have often written in my books, we are entitled to nothing unless it is given to us.  But that’s just my opinion.  It seemed this parent left nothing to the children, save the personal property.  And the hunger games began … literally.

Among the siblings, it became an epic battle of name calling, expert manipulation, grabbing possessions just to spite the other, take as much as they could to sell for cash, and even physical assault.  Besides shaking my head in disbelief, a pitiful thought enters my mind: These behaviors in no way honored the decedent.  Self-centered, disrespectful, discourteous, greedy, bratty …

I wouldn’t want to be around when the karma train pays them a visit.

This parent exited life knowing her children were like that.  Even in death, they pathetically displayed every behavior that shouldn’t be allowed.  This parent lived and died with disappointment and sadness, knowing the kids were like this.  She did what she could from a planning perspective and put someone else in charge of the estate; this was a smart move.  Was this a good parent?  Who knows?  There are two sides to every story, but the kids should at least be respectful in death.

All of these children are middle age which means they are old enough to know better.  They were angry that the parent had the last laugh, so to speak, and hit her in the wallet where it hurt.  This was not  a case of loving and missing a parent so much that they wanted select items for sentimental reasons.

I watched as they stripped this once beautiful home like a school of piranhas would strip a cow bone.  The only emotion was anger.

Lessons I’ve learned from my work:

  1. Do your best to always be genuine, kind, respectful, and loving.
  2. Turn your cheek and bite your tongue often.
  3. Bad behavior can invade your soul, so don’t allow it.
  4. Bad behavior is contagious, so don’t allow it.
  5. Honor those who go before you, and then one day, you’ll be honored too.
  6. Bring as much “light” as you can to the situation.  People can get lost in the dark during estate settlement situations.

©2013 The Estate Lady®

How to Handle Yourself During the Estate Settlement Process

It’s an observation worth noting: When it comes to dividing heirlooms and estate contents, everyone tenses up and no one wants to be the first to talk.  You can sense the apprehension in the room, and it appears as if everyone is trying to predict what the other will do.  Will my sister-in-law make a fuss?  Will brother want the same things I want, and if so, what do we do?  Will there be fighting and resentment?

From the perspective of this 20+ year estate veteran who has observed many families, we should be more concerned with our own behavior.  It is more likely that people will follow rather than lead, so if you lead by example, the others may very well follow suit, especially if you remain positive.  If every heir was in tune with their own behavior and had the ability to stay on the straight and narrow peaceful path, there would be a lot less fighting in the world.  Unfortunately this is not always the case.

When a parent passes, particularly the last remaining parent, true colors, a few fangs, and an entitlement mentality will eventually surface.  Most feuds break out for four basic reasons:

  1. A misunderstanding has taken place and has not been effectively dealt with
  2. Everyone grieves differently and emotions can be volatile
  3. A situation has been festering for years that probably took place during childhood and now will appear, causing all kinds of problems
  4. An heir perceives he/she is getting taken advantage of on the cash assets and/or heirlooms.

Here’s how you can contribute to a more peaceful resolution:

  1. Sit down and say what’s on your mind.  Beating around the bush confuses everyone and confrontation is not necessarily a bad thing.  My father always said that the day after a thunderstorm is usually clean, bright, and beautiful.  The storm clears the air and so does a confrontation that is more about sharing than finger-pointing.  Some heirs can’t handle this confrontation and I would definitely recommend some sort of mediation, if they want to save the relationship.  The down side is if they don’t fix this early on, the relationship will eventually be irreparable as the damage continues to expand and both parties live out their lives with anger in their hearts.
  2. It’s vital to do everything you can to keep the peace.  Regardless of what part you play in this, it will have an impact on you too, most especially a negative impact.  Even indirectly connected, you will be touched in some negative way.  To avoid this, do your best to take the “higher road.”  You’ll feel better doing so, even if it’s not always easy.
  3. Validate the other person’s feelings if they share them with you.  At least, listen.  Repeat what they said to you so they feel you heard them.  Both should agree to simply do the best you can to smooth it over somehow.  A photo of mom and dad sitting in front of you wouldn’t hurt.  After all, this is about honoring them and not about you.
  4. Encourage others to be a part of the healing process, if they would like to be.  It is not about taking sides.  It is about encouraging both parties to do what they can to heal the hurt, if the hurt can be healed.  It’s too easy to throw in the towel and quit.  Always remain objective and try very hard to see the other side.  Seeing both sides, or at least putting yourself in the other’s shoes, might very well lend some insight into the situation.  The problem is that we are generally too self-centered to do this, because we feel strongly we are in the right.  Promise yourself you will at least try!

Dividing heirlooms can be one of the most contentious experiences during our adult lives.  There is no way to completely eliminate family squabbles, but you can learn to put them out when they are smoldering, instead of when they grow into a full-blown forest fire.

© 2013 Julie Hall

Senior Scams are in Full Swing

… And it’s going to get worse!

Boomer children, be warned.  While the poor economy is definitely a huge culprit when it comes to senior scams, we also need to face the fact that many people out there are indescribably unscrupulous, earning money to hurt the ones you love.  I’ve often wondered how these people sleep at night and live with themselves, but I have come to realize these scam artists don’t seem to have much of a conscience.

Since I have had several blog followers ask me to write about the scams that have robbed their loved ones in many different ways, I want to shed light on what our seniors are going through, that often as children we don’t see … or don’t want to see.  The phone rings and it’s a friendly voice the elderly person is attracted to.  Our elderly relative might be lonely or soft-hearted and give information they shouldn’t give to the stranger.  Sadly, they are of a generation that may not fully recognize the impact of the world wide web and its power.  The stroke of a finger on a keyboard could mean financial devastation to them, and their personal information is spread around the world in an instant, never to be retrieved.

The telemarketers prey on them, promising a lottery, other forms of a windfall, and free stuff.  There is no “free.”  It all comes at a price.  We must also take into consideration that many of our relatives suffer from dementia, and the effects it has on their logic and reasoning.  In some cases, they don’t know any better, or they are just sweet-natured and gullible.  Some even buy things from TV home shopping channels just to have social interaction with the customer service rep on the phone and the UPS man when he drops off their purchases.

These are some of the things I see, but the National Council on Aging has this to say about senior scams:

  • All seniors are targeted, both low income as well as high income, because it is perceived they have plenty of money saved.
  • Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by an older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others. (Wow, this is really sad!)

Their top 10 list of senior scams:

For more details on each, go to: Top 10 Senior Scams

  1. Health Care / Medicare / Health Insurance Fraud
  2. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
  3. Funeral & Cemetery scams
  4. Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products
  5. Telemarketing
  6. Internet Fraud
  7. Investment Schemes
  8. Homeowner / Reverse Mortgage scams
  9. Sweepstakes and Lottery scams
  10. The Grandparent scam

Also, consider contacting your local Better Business Bureau for senior scams  in your area, and how they can be avoided.  Make sure to place your elderly loved one’s phone number on the National “Do Not Call” Registry. Registry

While scammers still do call, it is done less frequently.  Remind them your number is on the “Do Not Call” list.

Please do your research, and do everything in your power to protect your loved one!

© 2012 Julie Hall

Literal Gold Diggers

When I think of a gold digger, my mind conjures up two images: 1) an 1800’s scruffy old man panning for gold, and 2) The Housewives of Beverly Hills, Atlanta, or wherever.  In the old days, a gold digger was someone who ransacked the graveyards stealing gold from the deceased.  In my world of estates, I see a different kind of gold digger; one that you won’t know exists until a loved one dies or takes seriously ill.

We see estates literally ransacked, like a bunch of coyotes rummaged through the place.  Boxes that once sat neatly in the attic and closets are ripped open and left in a jumbled mess, opened with contents spilling out.  Closets are left with clothes not on hangers, but in a huge heap on the floor!  Kitchen cupboards are askew and I guarantee the silver is long gone.  It would appear they left no stone unturned.  Were they looking for gold, silver, or cold, hard cash?

What is this incessant need for people to take stuff and help themselves?

I call them Mr. Pilfer and Miss Pickpocket.  They come in, often under cover of the darkness, and things disappear, never to be found again.  Is it greed, the entitlement mentality, or just a lack of care and consideration for the memory of the loved one?

I have come to the conclusion, after talking with dozens of executors, that one of the problems is there are too many keys floating around.  One of the first things I recommend is changing the locks to protect the contents until they are inventoried and/or valuated.  Another thorn in the executor’s paw is that sometimes they will tell the family and extended members that “Uncle Joe was known for his cash stashes, guns, gold coins, etc.”

This just happened in the estate I was working in.  The executor, thinking he was being honest and open with everyone, told the family there was cash in the house.  You know what happened next?  Ransack city.

Sometimes, the executor won’t even know there are valuables or cash, but other family members suspect there is money in the estate.  It is the executor’s responsibility to protect what is in the estate!  No one should go in until all is established and ready to be divided according to the will (if there is one).  Hopefully, the executor is honest!

Moral of the story:  Loose talk makes valuables walk.

© 2012 Julie Hall

Vulnerable Parents Can Protect Themselves

If you read last week’s blog, this title sounds like a contradiction to that article.  Read on, and you’ll understand how parents can protect themselves and prepare their belongings for distribution without exploitation.

In my work of helping seniors appraise the worth of their personal property, or liquidating it, I have seen examples of unsavory human behavior during the process.  This comes from family, friends, neighbors, or strangers. 

In dealing with a lifetime accumulation of stuff, seniors are often at a vulnerable place in their lives and daunted by the task.  That’s when predators appear, driven by insensitive greed and persuasive powers.  These unscrupulous mischief makers could be stopped in their tracks if only the senior had the knowledge of how much their personal property was worth.  

They should also proactively create a master list of what they perceive to be treasures – either sentimental or financial.  Parents should use professional appraisers to valuate their possessions now, adding the appraiser’s report to the master list, to protect from unscrupulous people, either inside the family or from outside.

When seniors have avoided making these choices by doing nothing for their estate planning and distribution, they are actually making a decision with dire consequences.  I always recommend that seniors distribute their treasures personally now, or in writing for distribution at death.  When the gift is personally made, however, they have the satisfaction of seeing the joy on the face of the recipient!

If a personal transaction is not done, then the next best thing is to write down who gets what on a master list.  This master list should be kept safely with the will.  Both documents will almost always minimize family disputes and exploitation.

Problems generate when the children or close relatives are burdened with dealing with the death of the senior, the pressure of dealing with the estate, and the overwhelming task of disposing of the personal property.  Seniors who recognize their own responsibility in this matter and make the decisions themselves are practicing the best defense against family quarrels or exploitation in any guise!

© 2012 Julie Hall

Protect Your Vulnerable Parents

Your parents, especially those who live alone, are vulnerable to scams and schemes for three reasons.  First, seniors tend to be trusting.  They also may be lonely and sometimes distant from those who can protect them.  Senior parents are also vulnerable because they worry about their financial security.  Finally, scammers know that many seniors have money and valuable possessions.

Even though approximately 50 percent of elderly Americans are victims of financial exploitation, only 10 to 15 percent of the abuses are reported.

The following may indicate that your parents are being victimized:

  * Sudden bank account changes, especially an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money
  * Unfamiliar long-distance telephone numbers, especially from overseas, on their monthly bill
  * Significantly lower standard of living (change in eating and shopping habits; unable to afford things they once afforded)
  * Selling higher-end items such as furniture, antiques, and so on
  * Sudden disappearance of valuable possessions
  * Increase in commercial or junk mail
  * Sudden change in behavior; symptoms of depression or anxiety
  * Increased worries over money

Your parents protected you when you were young with advice and example.  Look both ways before crossing the street, never speak to strangers, and a host of other suggestions were meant to protect you.  Sadly, our parents reach a point where they need us to protect them!

Here are six suggestions to protect your parents from scams and schemes:

1. Ask or discuss with your parents who has durable power of attorney.

2. Register your parents’ telephone numbers with the National Do Not Call registry (www.donotcall.gov).

3. Discuss with them the list of common frauds listed above.  Ask them to contact you if they suspect anyone is trying to defraud them.

4. Ask your parents to contact you if anyone offers to buy any of their possessions.

5. Make sure a family member personally visits your parents on a weekly basis.  If this is a challenge and you have other siblings, take turns.

6. Reduce junk mail for a small fee by going to either of these web sites: www.stopthejunkmail.com and http://mailstopper.tonic.com.

The National Center for Elder Abuse is an excellent resource for information on financial and other forms of abuse against senior citizens.  It publishes reports and conducts research on this growing problem.  NCEA’s mission is to promote understanding, knowledge sharing, and action on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  Its web site also offers links to other excellent resources and organizations also devoted to protecting senior citizens.  Their web site is www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Honor your parents by standing between them and anyone who sees them as an easy target.

© 2012 Julie Hall